Category Archives: History

Eric Voegelin Quote

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The death of the spirit is the price of progress. Nietzsche revealed this mystery of the Western apocalypse when he announced that God was dead and that He had been murdered. This Gnostic murder is constantly committed by the men who sacrificed God to civilization. The more fervently all human energies are thrown into the great enterprise of salvation through world–immanent action, the farther the human beings who engage in this enterprise move away from the life of the spirit. And since the life the spirit is the source of order in man and society, the very success of a Gnostic civilization is the cause of its decline.” – Eric Voegelin

 

Inuit religion

Inuit religion representation

The Body Amazing

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Consider that you can see less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum and hear less than 1% of the acoustic spectrum. As you read this, you are traveling at 220 km/sec across the galaxy. 90% of the cells in your body carry their own microbial DNA and are not ‘you’. The atoms in your body are 99.9999999999999999% empty space and none of them are the ones you were born with, but they all originated in the belly of a star. Human beings have 46 chromosomes, 2 less than the common potato.

The existence of the rainbow depends on the conical photoreceptors in your eyes; to animals without cones, the rainbow does not exist. So you don’t just look at a rainbow, you create it. This is pretty amazing, especially considering that all the beautiful colors you see represent less than 1% of the electromagnetic spectrum.

NASA Lunar Science Institute, We Originated in the Belly of a Star (2012)

Pink moon

London in Colour, 1927 Film

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Lovely!  I kept wondering, where was this pretty girl in WWII?  What was this woman in the hat thinking while crossing the street?  Funny how adding color brings in reality.   Click here or below.

From the archives of the British Film Institute:

Incredible colour footage of 1920s London shot by an early British pioneer of film named Claude Frisse-Greene, who made a series of travelogues using the colour process his father William – a noted cinematographer – was experimenting with. It’s like a beautifully dusty old postcard you’d find in a junk store, but moving.

The resolution is good enough for full-screen enjoyment.

Book of Hours

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St Ambrose, Book of Hours

Book of Hours of Catherine of Cleves: St Ambrose. 1434-40

I love these little miniature books and can only imagine the life’s blood that went into them by the artists.  Look at the mussels or clams rendered in this picture.  Gorgeous!

Why mussels?  “The peaceful coexistence of the crab and mussels surrounding St. Ambrose, for example, are a commentary on his preaching abilities, for it was said he could reconcile the most bitter of enemies. (In the natural world mussels clamp down in the presence of crabs, which crave their delicate flesh.)”

Check this link.  You can see all of the Book of Hours in all its glory.  The internet is a blessing for me today!

 

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Just had a wonderful time at the Columbus Museum here in Columbus, Georgia.  Great art show, which included emerging artists and established ones  Very impressive!  I came back and started looking at my painting websites.  As usual, I am drawn to the Blaue Reiter.  When I looked up Alexei Jawlensky, the MoMA writeup  said he was a founding member of Neue künstlervereinigung münchen (NKVM).  And there he is in the same group as two other favorites – Werefin and Kandinsky.  I love this type of art.  The painting above is alexej-von-jawlensky, schokko with a red hat, 1909.  Then I found a lovely little one by an artist in the same group.  It definitely has a bit of a Russian vibe.  Love the cloth, love the teapot, love the fruit.   Very simple, but very emotional – comfort.  Igor Grabor, Pears on a blue tablecloth.

Pears_on_a_Blue_Tablecloth_by_Igor_Grabar,_1915

Late Night Book Finish

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Last night I finished reading Goddess: The Secret Lives of Marilyn Monroe.  What a sad end to a short life.  I wouldn’t call her a candle in the wind, more like a shooting star that took a down trajectory into inevitable ashes.  The author REALLY covered all his bases, read a lot of recently released files and re-interviewed primary sources – some of whom are now telling the truth after covering up for years.  I hate to say it, but the great President John F. Kennedy meets every definition for a sex addict.  Or a sexist pig, not sure which applies more.  51x1iSJHVvL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-arrow-click,TopRight,35,-76_AA278_PIkin4,BottomRight,-67,22_AA300_SH20_OU01_

Books I Recommend

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I have two books at the top of my list.  One is the extremely emotive World War II novel, Every Man Dies Alone,  based on a true story, by Hans Fallada.  (Aside – he took his pen name from Fallada, the noble horse in the fairy tale.  Do you remember when they cut the horse’s head off and put it on the castle wall?  He would give the Prince advice from there, but much was ignored, a la Cassandra of Troy.  The name fits perfectly when you read the story.)  Even for a military history buff like me, this book taught me so much more of what it felt like to be a German trapped in that society.

Every Man Dies Alone

 

The other is by Stephan Zweig, The World of Yesterday, described here by Amazon:  “Written as both a recollection of the past and a warning for future generations, The World of Yesterday recalls the golden age of literary Vienna—its seeming permanence, its promise, and its devastating fall.

Surrounded by the leading literary lights of the epoch, Stefan Zweig draws a vivid and intimate account of his life and travels through Vienna, Paris, Berlin, and London, touching on the very heart of European culture. His passionate, evocative prose paints a stunning portrait of an era that danced brilliantly on the edge of extinction.

This new translation by award-winning Anthea Bell captures the spirit of Zweig’s writing in arguably his most revealing work.”

It was a beautiful book with a superb translation from the German.  Stephan Zweig restarted his life twice – once after World War I, when he had to leave Vienna, and again as a Jew after World War II.  By the time of the Second World War, he was so famous that Hitler could not have him out and out killed, but tortured him in degrees by systematically searching every house over and over while he tried to write. Zweig couldn’t face that second start and walked into the ocean with his wife and committed suicide several years after the War.  Don’t worry, that doesn’t spoil this story or the wonderful descriptions of his life as a child.  As he described the stuffy heater, the smell of old socks and the wriggling of little boys on the bench bored by their old school teachers, I could see it, smell it and feel it.

The World of Yesterday

 

 

Kathe Kollwitz

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Kathe Kollwitz was the first artist who made me find HER!  I saw some statuary in a World War I cemetery and I had to find the artist.  I knew there was a story.  Here’s what You Baroque My Heart put up about her life.  Some of her expressionist drawings are at the link.  Fascinating!  Look at the body shapes and the faces.  I think these grieving parents look even more tortured from the back.

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the Kollwitz was a German expressionist artist who lived from 1867 – 1945. She is a very well known and respected female printmaker who captured life’s sorrows in her work. She began etching in 1880 and eventually taught at the Berlin School of Women Artists from 1898 to 1903.

I scanned the images above from the book “Käthe Kollwitz: Works in Color.”

In 1891 she married Dr. Karl Kollwitz. The couple moved into their new home in a section of Berlin that was filled with poverty. Witnessing the lower class life, Kollwitz developed her socialist and pacifist beliefs which became obvious in her later work.

Kollwitz outlived most of her family. Her son died in World War I and her grandson in World War II. When speaking about her son’s death, she told a friend, “There is in our lives a wound which will never heal. Nor should it.” These loses greatly affected her beliefs even more. Her art work repeats themes of poverty, hard working people, the lives of women and war.

During World War II the Nazis labeled her work as “degenerate” and forbid her to exhibit any of her art. Other artists had fled the country yet Kollwitz stayed in Berlin, despite the Nazis’ censorship.

As Kollwitz was reaching the end of her life, she knew she was going. In a letter she wrote, “War accompanies me to the end.” She passed away two weeks before the end of World War II.

Kathe Kollwitz s1 Kathe Kollwitz statues